What do you feel when someone mentions the word “prayer?” Do you feel excitement? How about passion? Do you feel like you have been given a great gift? Or do you feel guilt because you know you do not pray enough? Do you feel obligation because you know you need to pray daily? Do you feel boredom because you are not sure if your prayers do more than simply bounce off the ceiling? What do you feel?
If we are honest with ourselves, we may have a wide range of feelings when prayer is mentioned. Perhaps we should take a step back and take a new look at what prayer is, at its essence. If we do we might be able to capture the great gift that prayer truly is.
At its core, prayer is an act of asking God for something. Yet it is really more than that. God is not a heavenly handy man, just waiting for us to send Him a request so that He can step in and fix it for us. But we are to pray for things that concern us, things that may overwhelm us. If we cannot pray for anything other than good things like hunger, homelessness and the like, we will find our prayer life drying up. In other words, while those things are important, we must not neglect prayers for ourselves. After all, God desires an intimate relationship with Him. The kind of relationship God wants with us is the relationship where we find ourselves holding nothing back from God.
I often see my prayer life as a sort of “conversational walk” through my day. God is active in all aspects of my life. The more attuned I am with God’s presence, the more I hear and feel His nudges. Let me give you an example. This week I got up early to see Julie off to school. It was recycling/trash day so we were both rushing around to set everything out on the street. As we came back into the house and Julie grabbed her lunch and shut the door behind her to the garage, she asked for me to pray for her during the day. I told her that I would and the door shut behind her. Suddenly I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit. This is what I heard, “why not pray for her now. Don’t let her go, quickly go out to the garage and pray for her.” It was such a clear nudge that I did not want to miss an opportunity to respond to God. So I opened the door and caught her before she got in the car. I simply walked over to her, put my arms around her and prayed that God would protect her, bless her and keep her from any anxiety or worry. I am convinced that I would not have been able to hear God call me to do this if I did not practice my “conversational walk” with Him every day.
Prayer is an honor and a privilege. If you do not feel that way, do not beat yourself up. I suggest that you simply begin the practice of being aware of God’s presence with you everyday. Open your heart to God’s presence and start sharing what is on your heart. Then pay attention to the Holy Spirit nudges that will start happening. When you do, like I was this week, you will be blessed.